Radio DialThe CRTC has issued a call for applications for new commercial radio stations with a preliminary view that the market would be best served by proposals targeting ethnic communities. The Commission announced that it had received applications by VMS Media Group Ltd., Neeti P. Ray, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, Antoine Karam, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated and South Fraser Broadcasting for broadcasting licences to operate commercial ethnic radio stations to serve Edmonton.

The Edmonton Numeris central market includes the cities of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc and St. Albert. This market is currently served by 19 commercial radio stations, of which only one is an ethnic service.

The Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is Canada’s fifth largest by population. Having increased from 1,034,945 in 2006 to 1,159,869 in 2011 (12.1%), it ranks second highest among Canadian CMAs in terms of population growth during that time. The market is diverse, with 254,990 people (22% of the population) describing themselves as a visible minority in 2011, an increase of 5.3 percentage points from 2006. During that period, South Asians became the largest visible minority group with a population of 61,135, representing a 52% increase. Filipinos have shown the largest growth rate, with their population doubling to 39,945.Footnote 1

In its call for applications, the CRTC notes that the programming of CKER-FM, the only ethnic service in Edmonton, is mainly directed to the South Asian, and to a lesser extent, the Chinese communities. In Broadcasting Decision 2013-153, the Commission approved CKER-FM’s request to reduce from 19 to 12 the number of ethnic groups it is required to serve and the number of languages in which programming must be broadcast.

Although a second ethnic radio station could draw revenues away from CKER-FM, notes the application, Edmonton’s low ratio of ethnic radio revenues per third-language population compared to similar markets suggests that there is potential for revenue growth. Further, a second ethnic station would have minimal impact on existing mainstream stations given that ethnic services typically get minimal tuning and tend to depend on different sources to generate revenues, such as local advertising and brokered programming targeting a particular third language or ethnic market.

In light of these considerations, the Commission found that the Edmonton radio market could, under certain circumstances, sustain an additional radio station at this time. Consequently, and given the number of applications received and the interest expressed by other interveners to apply, the Commission has issued a call for applications for new commercial radio stations in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2015-562, published on December 18 with a preliminary view that the market would be best served by proposals targeting ethnic communities.

See CRTC’s complete Call for Applications published on December 18, 2015 at: http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2015/2015-562.htm